Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘animal kingdom

Research on brain or mind: How done? 

I attended a session of TEDx talk in Awkar (Lebanon).  The meeting started around 10 pm and ended at 1:30 am.  And we watched several TED talks on brain research and language.  The discussion and the friendly association inspired this article.

Since the Italian Galvani’s experiments on reactions of frog to electrical impulses in the 18th century, study on brain functions basically relied on binary (on/off) activities of neurons and nerves.

Currently, experiments are done using non-intrusive tools and techniques such as photo-voltaic (light) energy impulses.  The pores of particular axons in network of neurons and synapses in insects are activated by the light; the insect is thus programmed to behave as lights go on/off.

Research is focusing on selecting specialized network of neurons that can be activated and programmed so that particular functions of the brain are localized and controlled.  This strategy says: “let us investigate sets of neuron networks with definite functions.  As more networks are identified then, extrapolating procedures might shed better lights on how the brain function”.

It seems that this strategy in research is adopted frequently among teams of neuro-scientists.

Basically,  although the brain does not function as current computers do (advanced computers are being tested, working on living organisms such as bacteria that are programmed with artificial intelligence rules), the brain and nervous systems are activated in binary modes as computer by surges of energy impulses.  Hormones (chemical compounds) in body activate and deactivate neurons for particular functions in the brain and the body.

I like to suggest a complementary strategy for neuron research based on investigating pairs of hormones as a guiding program.

The idea is to mapping particular pairs of hormones, among the hundred of them, that are specialized in firing and cancelling out stimulus for activating certain tasks.

The next step is to construct a taxonomy for all the tasks and functions of the body and then regrouping the tasks that share the same network of neurons activated by particular pairs of hormones.

The set of tasks for a pair of hormones do not necessarily engage a direct function: they may be accessory and complementary to a function such as controlling, maintaining, decision, motor, feedback critics, actors, learning…

The variety of hormones correspond to different external senses, internal senses, and special nervous structures and molecular cells in the body and the brain.    The number of hormones is countable, but combinations of pairs of (on/off) hormones are vast. I suppose that a hormone might be playing a valid role in several tasks while its opposite hormones might be different for other sets of tasks.

I have this strong impression that research on animals and insects are not solely based on moral grounds or ethical standards.  The practical premises are that animals are far more “rational” in their “well-behaved” habits than mankind.  And thus, experiments on mostly male insects (even female insects have more complex behaviors and body instability) are more adequate to logical designs.

The variability (in types and number) in experimenting with particular animal species are vastly less systematic than experimenting with mankind:  For one thing, we are unable to communicate effectively with animal species and we have excuses to hide under the carpet our design shortcomings.

I think there is a high positive correlation between longevity in the animal kingdom and level of “intelligence”.

Species that live long must have a flexible nervous systems that rejuvenate, instead of the mostly early hard-wired nervous systems in short-lived species.

Consequently, the brains of long-lived species are constantly “shaking”, meaning cogitating and thinking when faced with new conditions and environments.

Mankind observed the short-lived species (with mostly hard-wired nervous systems) and applied control mechanisms on societies based on those “well-behaving” animals for control and organization models of communities of mankind.  

It is of no surprise that control mechanisms on human societies failed so far in the long-term:  Man is endowed with a brain shaking constantly and rejuvenating most of his nervous cells and submit but momentarily to control mechanism, long enough to subdue a community for many years.

Note:  You may read my article on bacteria running supercomputers on https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/bacteria-running-supercomputers-how/

King cobra may kill female if rebuffed? (Nov. 9, 2009)

I watched National Geographic channel at 10:30 pm on Sunday.  I see a couple of cobras copulating.  The story is that the female was mating with a king cobra and a local male challenged the mating cobra.  The two males engaged in a harmless fight: they are immune to their poisons and just entwine for some time; I see their heads dancing close to one another.  The previous mating cobra gives up the fight and sneaks out of the picture. The female was sneaking away because she was either already satisfied or she felt that she had aversion to the intruding challenging vanquisher.

The winning cobra appeared wanting to mate for a few seconds but the female kept sneaking away. Suddenly, the king cobra changed his mind and decided to kill the female; did he smell his rival’s copulation or was he going crazy for the rebuff? The male cobra killed a female cobra after 45 minutes of an agonizing struggle. Before dying the female spins fast clockwise and counter-clockwise for a last attempt to survival. It seems that the female has less immunity than male to the poison and the male is at least a head longer than female. The male then undertook to swallow whole the female; she was too big and he regurgitated her dead body.

What with this game of male challenges?  Couldn’t the mating king cobra resume his job by forgetting the intruder’s presence?  Anyway, I don’t think that the intruder would have challenged the mating king cobra; at least the mating one has this psychological superiority of being more capable of surviving and finding a female partner.  Why would a tired mating cobra endeavor to take chances and then run the possibility of hard scouring process of finding an agreeable and consenting female?

It seems that female cobra build a nest for around 25 eggs to hatch; she pile up a meter-high of tree leaves so that the eggs enjoy a climate of 25 degrees and then hatch after 3 months; the female fast for 3 months because she would not leave the nest.  Immediately after the first egg hatches then the female is out of her obligations; actually, she leaves quickly in order not to start eating her progenies.

The newly hatched cobras are already venomous and can hunt for survival; usually, only 2 out of 25 live to adulthood.  Cobras are attracted to areas where rat snakes abound; thus, rat snakes are attracted to areas where rats come to eat and then cobras follow rat snakes to feed on!

I got in bed by 12:15 am and was terrified by the program on natures.  Luckily, I don’t recall having nightmarish dreams.  What do I know? May be the bad dreams will strike me tonight; then I might sue National Geographic for late horror emissions.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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